Solutions to Operation Stack

Closed 22 Jul 2018

Opened 11 Jun 2018


Our public information exercise that ran from 11 June to 22 July 2018 is now closed.

We organised 7 public exhibitions around the county and visited various Motorway Service Areas and truckstops. We also promoted our exercise via local libraries, newspapers, radio, television, twitter and the Highways England project webpage.

We held briefing sessions with local MPs and councillors, the Statutory Environmental Bodies and representatives for the Kent ports and haulage industry.

We would like to thank everyone who provided their views.

During summer and autumn 2018 we will analyse all of the responses received and will continue to talk to many parties; including Kent County Council, local councils, Kent Police, the ports and the haulage industry. The public information exercise was just the first step of a wider consultation process. We will report our analysis to government and the public.

We will provide updates via our webpage, but can be contacted at any time via

If a scheme is progressed, we intend to consult on more detailed options and proposals in winter 2018/2019.

Any scheme that is taken forward will involve extensive public consultation and will require a full environmental impact assessment.

Solutions to Operation Stack

We want to hear your views on our proposed approach to reduce the congestion that occurs in Kent during periods of extraordinary cross-Channel disruption.

At present, congestion is managed by activating Operation Stack on the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone to hold lorries on the carriageway until issues are resolved.  Other drivers are diverted onto local roads.

We are proposing a new approach.  This will enable lorries to be held away from other traffic during disruption and will keep the M20 open in both direction other traffic,

We are also considering ways to address the problem of lorries that park illegally or inappropriately across Kent. 

This fresh start means we can completely reassess what is needed, and no sites have been selected for development.

This is your opportunity to help shape a solution.

You may find it helpful to read the information in our brochure before completing the questionnaire.

Inside our brochure, you can find out about:

  • How we currently manage congestion in the region
  • How Operations Stack works
  • The case for action
  • Illegal and inappropriate parking in Kent and its effects on the region
  • On and off-road solutions to managing freight
  • Next steps

Watch our video

How to get involved

Please take time to take part; there are various ways to get involved:

  • Complete the online questionnaire below
  • Download the print questionnaire and return it to Freepost Kent Lorry Area
  • Hard copies of the questionnaire and the brochure are available by:
    • Calling: 0300 123 5000 (quoting Kent lorry area)
    • Email:
  • Attend a public event (venues and dates below). Our team will be available to talk through the information and answer any questions
  • Visit a public information point where further information and questionnaires are available (shown below)

The closing date for responses is 11.59pm on Sunday 22 July 2018.

Public events

Location Venue Date Hours

Sessions House County Hall, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ 

12 June 2018
14.00– 20.00

Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street, Dover, CT16 1DL 

14 June 2018
14.00– 20.00

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 OLH 

26 June 2018
14.00– 20.00

Westgate Hall, Westgate Hall Road, Canterbury, CT1 2BT 

Wednesday 27 June 2018 14.00– 20.00

St Mary’s Parish Centre, Church Street, Dover, Kent, CT16 1BY 

30 June 2018
12.00– 18.00

Quarterhouse, Mill Bay,

Folkestone, CT20 1BN
5 July 2018
14.00– 20.00

Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ 

7 July 2018
12.00– 18.00


Public information points

  • Allington Library, Castle Road, Maidstone, ME16 0PR
  • Ashford Library, Ashford Gateway Plus, Church Road, Ashford, TN23 1AS
  • Aylesham Library, Aylesham Community Centre, Ackholt Road, Aylesham, Canterbury, CT3 3AJ  
  • Bearsted Library, Station House, Ware Street, Bearsted, Maidstone, ME14 4PH
  • Bockhanger Library , Bybrook Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9JE
  • Boughton-under-Blean Library, Village Hall, Bull Lane, Boughton-Under-Blean, Faversham, ME13 9AH  
  • Canterbury Library, 18 High Street, Canterbury, CT1 2RA  
  • Charing Library, Market Place, Charing, Ashford, TN27 0LR  
  • Chatham Library, Community Hub Chatham, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TX  
  • Cheriton Library, 64 Cheriton High Street, Folkestone, CT19 4HB
  • Gillingham Library, Gillingham Community Hub, High Street, Gillingham, ME7 1BG
  • Dover Library, Dover Discovery Centre, Market Square, Dover, CT16 1PH
  • Faversham Library, Newton Road, Faversham, ME13 8DY
  • Folkestone Library, 2 Grace Hill, Folkestone, CT20 1HD
  • Hythe Library, 1 Stade Street, Hythe, CT21 6BQ
  • Larkfield Library, Martin Square, Larkfield, Aylesford, ME20 6QW
  • Lenham Library, 11 The Square, Lenham, Maidstone, ME17 2PQ
  • Lyminge Library, Station Road, Lyminge, Folkestone, CT18 8HS
  • Madginford Library, Egremont Road, Bearsted, Maidstone, ME15 8LH
  • Maidstone Library, Kent History and Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone, ME14 1LQ
  • Ramsgate Library, Guildford Lawn, Ramsgate, CT11 9AY
  • Rochester Library, Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate, Rochester, ME1 1EW
  • Sandgate Library, Sandgate High Street, Sandgate, Folkestone, CT20 3RR
  • Shepway Library, 17, Northumberland Court, Northumberland Road, Maidstone, ME15 7LW
  • St Margaret's-at-Cliffe Library, Community Centre, 16, Kingsdown Road, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, Dover, CT15 6BB
  • Tonbridge Library, 1 Avebury Avenue, Tonbridge, TN9 1TG
  • Tunbridge Wells Library, Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1NS
  • West Malling Library, 22-24 High Street, West Malling, ME19 6QR
  • Wood Avenue Library Wood Avenue, Folkestone, CT19 6HS
  • Wye Library, 6 Upper Bridge Street, Wye, Ashford, TN25 5AF

Why we need a solution to Operation Stack

  • The M20/A20 and M2/A2 are the main routes that connect the London area with the channel ports in Kent and are among the south-east’s most important and busiest roads.
  • Thousands of vehicles travel on the M20/A20 and M2/A22 every day;  local residents, commuters, freight hauliers, other business people and tourists.
  • On average around 11,500 (5,750 in each direction) lorries use these roads to access cross-Channel travel services every day on the shortest, quickest and cheapest route to mainland Europe.
  • In 2016, the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel handled a record number of lorries and both predict  freight traffic will double over the next decade.
  • Extra parking has been provided within both facilities but capacity can still be exceeded when severe weather, industrial action or operational problems disrupt cross-Channel travel services.
  •  As a consequence, lorry queues that are too great to be accommodated within the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel can form on the motorways and local roads.  Operation Stack is activated to queue lorries on the M20 until they can join their ferry or train. This closes parts of the motorway with impacts on the M20, surrounding roads, local communities and businesses in Kent.
  • Traffic is expected to increase on the M20/A20 and M2/A2. The number of lorries travelling to and from the Kent ports is also expected to rise significantly.

Since severe weather, equipment failure and other disruptive events can never be completely avoided, the risk is that Operation Stack will be implemented more frequently if action is not taken.

Without action, the safety and journey time reliability of everybody using the motorways, major and local roads in Kent could be affected.

Important background

Due to significant and prolonged disruption in summer 2015, Operation Stack was in place for over 30 days. In response, the Government instructed Highways England to develop plans for a new lorry holding area to avoid the worst impacts of Operation Stack.

In July 2016 the Government announced a proposal for a lorry holding area near Stanford in Kent. We consulted over the summer and in October 2016 the decision to select Stanford West became the subject of a judicial review.

In November 2017, following legal advice, the Government withdrew this initial proposal and at the same time instructed us to explore the development of a lorry holding area solution through the normal planning process.

This gives us the opportunity to completely reassess the scope of the requirement, including the scale of facilities and location of new lorry holding areas.


  • All members of the public


  • Roads